Young people working for Coyote Cruises on Penticton channel victims of racial slurs from floaters | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Young people working for Coyote Cruises on Penticton channel victims of racial slurs from floaters

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August 12, 2021 - 11:22 AM

Many of the staff at Coyote Cruises in Penticton are teenagers from the Penticton Indian Band, and some of those young employees were victims of racism and a physical altercation by drunken floaters going down the channel yesterday.

The incident yesterday, Aug. 11, was condemned in a joint press release from the band and the City of Penticton issued today.

“These young student employees were subjected to racist slurs and a minor physical altercation by intoxicated and belligerent guests floating the river channel,” the statement reads. “The racist slurs and comments included mention of the 215 graves of children discovered at the Kamloops Residential School site.”

Chief Greg Gabriel met with Mayor John Vassilaki and RCMP Supt. Brian Hunter yesterday.

"We agree that these actions are not acceptable and cannot be tolerated,” Chief Gabriel said in the release. “We already have much anger in all First Nations Communities as a result of the initial 215 graves being discovered. This type of irresponsible behaviour will only generate more anger and division between communities. Our children and youth who work in these summer positions work diligently in performing their roles to ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment and should never be subjected to any racism or belligerent behaviour.”

Vassilaki echoed that statement.

“Each of us must stand up and call out racism of any sort, anytime we witness it,” Mayor Vassilaki said in the release. “To community members and neighbours who are hurting right now, on behalf of the City and Council, I want you to know that we stand with you and we are here for you.”

Supt. Hunter said racist, derogatory or anything motivated by hate will not be accepted in the community.

“These insensitive actions especially towards our youth, will not be tolerated and have been reported to the Penticton RCMP,” Hunter said in the release. “We have initiated a fulsome investigation into the matter. We all recognize that there continues to be much grief and anger in our First Nations communities as more graves are being discovered but it is important that we all lead with compassion and understanding during these difficult times”.


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